By Dominque Fong
Asian shares slipped Thursday except in Japan, where some solid earnings helped stocks notch gains.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.18% finished with a 0.4% gain, while Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +0.26% lost 0.1%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -0.32% shed 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.47% sank 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +2.07% was little changed.
An overnight rebound in oil prices did little to boost lackluster trading across the Asia-Pacific region. Investors were disappointed by recent weak earnings in the U.S., where hopes had been building for a revival in consumer spending to lift the broader economy.
“The Asian market is following after the U.S. market yesterday,” said Alex Wijaya, a senior sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore. “Analysts are mainly looking to consumer spending, labor and inflation data, so weaker earnings from Macy’s and Disney are weighing on markets in general.”
In Japan, a batch of solid earnings in the afternoon offset weak corporate results earlier in the day. Fuji Heavy Industries /zigman2/quotes/203522406/delayed JP:7270 +0.28% , the maker of Subaru cars, gained 3.7% after posting stronger profit growth for the year ended March.
Shares of Nissan Motor /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 +1.32% were down 1.4% as investors weighed its proposal to buy 34% of Mitsubishi Motors for ¥237.4 billion ($2.18 billion). The deal would make Nissan the largest shareholder of Mitsubishi Motors /zigman2/quotes/202404490/delayed JP:7211 0.00% .
Hindu Nationalists in India pray for Donald Trump
About a dozen members of the Hindu Sena, a Hindu nationalist group, gathered in New Delhi on Wednesday to pray for Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election. Photo: Getty Images
In China, investors were concerned about increased regulatory scrutiny of the initial-public-offering process. The China Securities Regulatory Commission said it would change delisting rules to better protect investors, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
More companies recently have been going public in China by combining with already-listed shell companies, a process known as “backdoor listing.” Shares of two possible takeover targets — Zhejiang Mizuda Printing & Dyeing Group Co. /zigman2/quotes/203864869/delayed CN:002034 +0.70% and Citic Guoan Information Industry Co. /zigman2/quotes/203865148/delayed CN:000839 +1.49% — fell 2.7% and 2.2%, respectively, on worries that such deals could be stalled by stricter regulation.
“Recent official announcements show that the regulator will lean towards a more conservative stance,” said Zheng Chunming, an analyst at Capital Securities. “The market is expected to correct further.”
One bright spot for the region was the energy sector. Australian oil producers BHP Billiton /zigman2/quotes/201448516/delayed AU:BHP +1.31% /zigman2/quotes/208108397/composite BHP -1.41% and Woodside Petroleum /zigman2/quotes/203437212/delayed AU:WPL -0.33% rose 0.2% and 2.4%, respectively, after U.S. oil prices rallied overnight to a fresh 2016 high.
In other markets, Philippine stocks sank /zigman2/quotes/210597949/delayed PH:PSEI -0.58% , reducing the gain for the week to 4.7%. Stocks had surged earlier in the week after unofficial election results showed presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte headed for victory. As expected, the Philippine central bank held its benchmark interest rate at 4%.
—Kosaku Narioka and Yifan Xie contributed to this article.